a 3-part series by Sofie Benoot, Gilles Cotton, Olivier Magis
The Ugliest Country in the World

Is Belgium the most ugly country in the world? Belgium's urban landscape is pretty special, to say the least. On any road you drive, any city or region you cross, you will find a bizarre and intriguing form of urbanization that is so one of the kind, you won't find anything like it anywhere else in the world. Actually it's rather the lack of urbanization that is so unique and it is this particular aspect that is essential to Belgium's typical look. The 3-part series Archibelge approaches the typical phenomena of our Belgian architecture from within the individuals who is surrounded by the fascinating diversity of buildings on a daily basis. Archibelge is a fascinating journey along the Belgian roads at the countryside, through Brussels, up to the Belgian coast line. 

De Schoonheid van het lelijke

Er zit poëzie in onze lelijkheid

Het is toch heerlijk om zien hoe mensen zichzelf proberen uit te drukken door een zalmroze gevel of een foute tuinkabouter in de voortuin.
Griet Op de Beeck in de Wereld Draait door

La surréaliste de la brique. Une série ne pas à rater
La Libre Belgique

Onze architectuur is onze meest geslaagde vorm van meertaligheid.
Peter Vandermeersch in de Wereld Draait door

Archibelge gaat niet per se over spuwlelijke bouwsels, maar ook vooral over de schepsels die zich er op dagelijkse basis tussen voortbewegen - u en wij - en wat die bouwsels te zeggen hebben over wie ze er neergepoot heeft.

Archibelge kan niet genoeg publicitaire aandacht krijgen.
Hand Berekamp in NRC Handelsblad

Eigenlijk valt het best mee om Belg te zijn.


About the director

Sofie Benoot
Born in Bruges, Belgium in 1985. She completed a master’s degree in Audiovisual Arts, specialising in Documentary Film, at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. She now teaches there. Her films are patchworks of different stories, which are carefully puzzled together to reveal hidden connections.

2007 Fronterismo; 40 min. 2010 Blue Meridian; 80 min. 2014 Desert Haze; 110 min.

Olivier Magis
Magis was born in Brussels. He graduated in directing at the lnstitut des Arts de Diffusion after directing his final film Le Secret des Dieux, in 2004. This short film, a mockumentary, uses the mad cow scandal as a pretext for an investigative narrative, in order to question the critical relationship between viewers and the media. According to Muriel Andrin, Professor of Writing and Film Analysis at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, "Magis kidnaps television images in favour of another story, a fake documentary, a docu-fiction, following in the footsteps of Peter Watkins or William Karel, on the thin line where reality meets imagination".

In 2013, he directed his first creative documentary, Ion, produced by Dérives (Dardenne brothers and Julie Frères). This film tells the story of Ion Beleaua, a visually impaired former political refugee, who works as a police auxiliary in Liège.[Broadcast on Belgian television and awarded in numerous international festivals, the documentary also received the Special Mention at the SCAM Discovery Prizes, audiovisual section[8]

In 2014 he directed Les Fleurs de l'Ombre, a documentary diving into Romania, in a Miss competition for visually impaired women. This competition organized by the Romanian Association of the Blind is not ordinary, however: it rewards the inner beauty of the participants. In 2015, the film won the Best Documentary (ex-aequo) at the South East European Film Festival in Los Angeles.

In 2015, he directed two episodes of the Babel Express television documentary collection,[11] broadcast on ARTE and RTBF.

The following year, he collaborated on the documentary trilogy Archibelge!, a television serie questioning the ugliness of architecture in Belgium. Magis directed the first episode, entitled "Brussels, or the quest for identity", and questioned the complex roots of the urban and architectural problems in Brussels

His first short fiction film, May Day, co-directed with Fedrik De Beul, was released in 2017. This film plunges the viewer into the heart of a job strangely put up for auction. Broadcast on RTBF, BeTV, CANVAS, Canal+, TV5 Monde, May Day is rewarded at many international festivals. 

In addition to directing, Magis teaches comparative directing at the Ecole Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle (ESRA) in Brussels and documentary cinema at the SAE Institute in Brussels.



Sofie Benoot
Gilles Coton
Olivier Magis
Frederik Nicolai

directed by
Sofie Benoot
Olivier Magis

based on the original idea by
Gilles Coton

edited by
Tom Denoyette
Mathieu Piérart

Kwinten Van Laethem
Gedeon Depauw
Guillaume Berg
Rainier Buidin

director of photography
Grimm Vandekerckenhove
Jonathan Wannyn
Joachim Philippe
Jean-François Metz

original music by
Daniel Offerman

Production Details

an Off World production

in coproduction with
Playtime Films

with the support from
Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF|Media),
le centre du cinéma de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Brussels Capital Region & Wallonia
the Belgian Federal Government Tax Shelter